Many people who decide to make the switch to the Paleo diet most likely were on a diet that heavily relied on grains, dairy, sugars, unhealthy oils, and simple carbohydrates.
Think of all the delicious fried foods we love and our favorite desserts packed with sugary goodness, not to mention all the rice, pasta, and bread as part of our staple foods.
Although we can’t get enough of these foods, this type of diet is what contributes to gut dysbiosis or more commonly known as “leaky gut.”
What Is Leaky Gut?
Having leaky gut means that the lining of the intestine, which is supposed to keep the contents of our digestive system separate from the rest of our body (moving food only from tongue to tail), has become compromised, leaky, and allows large particles to move across the gut membrane and into our bloodstream.
Our bodies then have to work up an immune response to these particles, which could be things like chemicals or food proteins, which can then lead to all sorts of health problems like autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue, rashes, mental disorders, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and other health-related issues.
Aside from our diet, many of us have had our fair share of gut-damaging antibiotics and prescription drugs, which contribute to throwing off our digestive tract. I understand why some people never want to take drugs even when they catch a cold. I have become one of those people as I believe my body is strong enough to heal itself.
What Are the Symptoms Of Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut may result in digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, but often presents itself as more complex symptoms like food allergies, eczema and rashes, migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, weight gain, blood sugar issues including Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroid syndrome, mood issues including depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia, infertility and a whole range of autoimmune conditions.
Thankfully, there are ways to help alleviate or eliminate this problem, and they are things we can control.
How Can You Help Heal Leaky Gut?
The biggest thing to remember is to stop eating foods that damage and inflame the gut lining.
As obvious as it may seem, the gut should be thought of as the primary interface between the human body and the environment. Every food that is put into your system will create a reaction in your gut. The first step in helping heal your leaky gut is to stop eating foods that damage and inflame the gut lining.
Here is a list of foods you should avoid:
- Unhealthy oils (corn, vegetable, soybean, cottonseed)
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Excessive carbohydrate consumption
Individuals with autoimmune disease may want to limit or omit:
- Vegetables from the nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes)
- Nuts and seeds
- Eggs (egg whites in particular)
By removing the foods outlined above, you should be able to reduce overall body inflammation and start restoring gut health.
Eat Foods That Promote Healing
Probiotic-rich foods are essential. The gut is home to roughly 100 trillion organisms, and many gut related problems stem from the loss of gut flora diversity.
These foods are tremendously rich in probiotics, naturally cultured, or good for healing:
- Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi)
- A multi-species, dairy-free probiotic supplement can also be equally beneficial
- Fruits (chutney, preserved fruits)
- Meat exclusively from grass-fed animals (beef, bison, goat or lamb); you can eat plenty of wild-caught seafood; and/or you can supplement with a good quality fish oil
- Bone Broth because it is rich in glycine, gelatin, and glutamine which is essential for intestinal repair
- Fermentable fibers, like sweet potatoes
- Healthy fats sources like pasture-raised animals, avocado, coconut oil, pure olive oil
- Omega-3 rich foods like seafood and salmon
Adequately Manage Stress
A vital part of gut health is to be able to manage stress. Excessive stress results in heightened cortisol levels which can over time wreak havoc on hormone functionality and other bodily processes including gut functioning.
It is important to avoid chronic stress and to incorporate activities you enjoy in your day-to-day. Activities such as hiking, meditation, playing with your kids, or socializing with friends and family are all great ways to reduce stress.
Tell us what other ways you found helpful in healing leaky gut!